Weaving and ducking through a maze of brilliantly colored fabrics, Huynh Tien stops to feel silk in varying shades of yellow in the charming Tran Huu Trang Market in Phu Nhuan. She pulls the material, examining the edges and leaning in to get the closest possible look. The woman keeping the shop excitedly chats with her, as this is one of Tien’s favorite markets and she has become close with the vendors over the last two years. “This is a small market, but they have good quality fabric,” Tien tells me, “I know the quality from my experience.”
She takes me to a woman selling lightweight linen in every conceivable shade and they have an affectionate exchange. These relationships are what has inspired the former Miss Universe Vietnam “Sports” and current model and fashion designer to start this shopping experience using the booking platform LandedVibe. Tien brings customers to the market where she is able to help them find the highest quality fabric for the best possible price, and bring business to the people she buys from. After helping friends buy textiles, she realized she could expand this so that others, especially expats, could experience this as well. She is able to tell what is worthwhile and what is not, and that is imperative in a space overflowing with material. “I try it first myself to make sure of the quality,” Tien says. Explaining that she never wants her customers to wear anything she wouldn’t also wear.
Tien is a fashion designer who specializes in trendy, tailored suits for men and women alike, with a buzzing shop on Nguyen Dinh Chieu Street in District 3. Participants can choose to shop with her and then be fitted for suits from the material they select, or she can help them pick their fabrics and go on their way. Her main goal is to give them the opportunity to shop like a local in her most beloved of places and support both the shoppers and vendors. Smiling, she rests her chin on her hands as she tells me, “I’m not doing it to make money, it’s more about sharing the experience.”
Clothes Make The Man
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, they say. For example, try as you might to make those cream-colored trousers go with a white shirt, it’s still fashionably risky. Darks like lights.
What happens when you swap the white shirt out for a dark one? “You will impress everyone, and everybody [will] look at you,” opined male stylist and fashionista Hoc Bui. Dark colors are assertive and give the wearer a strong look, he added. Hoc is a personal stylist available for a one-on-one, relaxed, judgement-free consultation through skill-sharing network Landed Vibe.
Hoc prefers a classic look donning a tailored suit. “It’s fabric from Italy, last available in Vietnam,” he said proudly, and handsome leather shoes that deserve more attention that footwear ever gets. His look makes him stand out among the local crowd. “It’s rare for Vietnamese” to don suits, Hoc said. “The weather in Saigon is always hot and wet. People don’t usually take on suits. [They] always look at me like, ‘What the heck?’” Hoc said laughing in an impeccable, whiskey-woodcolored suit. “Women love the brown,” he asserted. He explained the look gives him “confidence, and I don’t care.”
Hoc started taking fashion seriously about a year ago. Two things happened: he took a management job at Hermès working closely with suits, and he discovered the world of classic male fashion on Instagram. There are a number of Vietnamese men on Instagram showcasing looks that would be at home on an episode of period drama Mad Men.
Hoc’s current look is married to this particular point in his life, but previously he dressed in a much different manner as a hip hop dancer, a very different role than that of a Hermès store staff member that prefers more modern, loose-fitting clothing. So, Hoc has some range, and his goal as your stylist and consultant isn’t to make you look like him, but to make you look like you, just better.
It starts with a conversation, Hoc said. He’d ask about your job and what your day-to-day life looks like. Are you a businessman who might benefit from pinstripes, a coded marker for wealth, or a journalist that could use a simple outfit that’s less visually busy to appear more trustworthy? Then, he’d asses your body type and offer recommendations ranging from the style of collar you should wear to the type of shoes that might go with the pants you’re imagining would go with this look.
Should you shave that beard or let it go? Hoc is the guy to ask and he can offer some tips on caring for this beard if you’re attached to it. “Lots of men [do] not care about clothes,” Hoc said, a generalization that seems true given the way men usually dress, in pedestrian, forgettable ways that are not worth studying closely. You might feel differently about the value of appearances if you knew how you looked in a pinstripe suit.
Landed Vibe is a platform that helps millennials turn shareable values of their profession, skill or hobby into on-demand payable activities, either for entertainment, skill learning or travel experience purposes, to be booked by millennial locals, expats and travelers alike. For your own personal consultation with Huyen Tien or Hoc Bui or explore the 80+ experiences that are available, visit landedvibe.com.
Images by Vy Lam